I managed to fit in a couple of appearances on Radio New Zealand National in the busy late-December period.
Firstly, The Listener’s Helene wong and I joined Simon Morris on the Arts on Sunday for a chat about the state of New Zealand cinema in 2013 prompted by the recent New Zealand Film Awards (or “Moas”).
Then, just before everyone broke for the Christmas break I paid Kathryn Ryan a visit at Nine to Noon
to discuss my highlights of the year and Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
It may be playing in cinemas but I’m not entirely convinced that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – and, by extension, the forthcoming Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again – is actually cinema. At least not cinema the way that this particular old geezer remembers it. First, let us put aside the technological innovation for a few paragraphs and focus on the story. These films have been been created to deliver an experience to existing fans of the Lord of the Rings films and is arguably even more tailored to their needs than, say, the Twilight franchise is to their fans. It certainly makes as few concessions to the neutral.
Fans from Bratislava to Beirut want to spend as much time as possible in Middle Earth and writer-director Peter Jackson delivers – to the extent that several familiar characters make inelegant cameo appearances and the audience gets to spend considerable time acclimatising. It really doesn’t matter that I think the whole thing faffs around for far too long and already feels hyper-extended. Criticising The Hobbit for length is falling in to the trap of reviewing the film you wish you were watching instead of the one in front of you.